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Pure Appl. Chem., 2012, Vol. 84, No. 10, pp. 1983-1998

Published online 2012-06-27

Laboratory automation based on flow techniques

Víctor Cerdà*, Jessica Avivar and Amalia Cerdà

Group of Analytical Chemistry, Automation and Environment, Department of Chemistry, University of the Balearic Islands, Carretera de Valldemossa km 7’5, Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Abstract: Flow techniques have undoubtedly aroused special interest in relation to many other automatic methodologies of analysis. Ever since segmented flow analysis (SFA) was developed by Skeggs in 1957, flow techniques have been in continuous evolution toward new develop-ments. There is no solid argument in favor of using any particular flow technique separately; rather, substantial advantages can be derived from their combination. Since flow-based methods are nonseparative tools, the advantages of combining flow techniques with separation techniques are noteworthy. High selectivity can be achieved by coupling them with liquid chromatography (LC), gas chromatography (GC), solid-phase extraction (SPE), or capillary electrophoresis (CE). Thus, a detailed description of flow techniques, their evolution, their hyphenation advantages, and a critical comparison between current developed methods exploiting flow techniques aimed at solving present analytical needs are reviewed in this article.